5 Open Source Music Games for GNU/Linux

with 10 comments

Believe it or not, GNU/Linux is already an amazing game platform. You might find this statement entirely implausible or rather incredulous but I really mean it. I didn’t know this until last evening when I was desperately looking for an open source alternative for the popular game “Guitar Hero”. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, in fact, I was preparing myself for a total flop, or yet another monotonous copycat of GH. Oh boy… how wrong was I. Not only did I found the sort of game I was looking for, but also, I stumbled upon some other cool open source music games that totally changed my perception about open source games. But don’t take my words for it, just go and search for a very specific genre of games. I assure you that eventually you will find some quality open source alternatives. I do believe some of these games can be competent competitors to their commercial counterparts if they get more attention from the community.

For this reason, I’ve decided to compile a list of music games that are available for GNU/Linux. Since I personally am a very recent convert to the marvels of open source gaming I don’t claim that these are all the music games that are available for the platform. However, I think they are a nice start for people new to the whole idea. Also, I found most of these games to be very modest in hardware requirement. As a matter of fact, I’ve played all of them on Hetty (my EeePC netbook) without a gliche.

1- Frets on Fire X

Frets on Fire X Debian GNU Linux

Frets on Fire X

Frets on Fire is probably the most well-implemented open source alternative to guitar-hero alike games. You play the game by holding your keyboard like a guitar and pressing F1 through F5 keys for fretting and pressing RETURN for picking. Although I have to admit that I couldn’t hold my EeePC like that so the game was a bit difficult for me.
Personally I prefer Frets on Fire X (a famous fork of FoF) since it’s much more customizable and you can download copious amount of themes and songs from the community website to embellish the game.

Frets on Fire Linux Debian Game

Frets on Fire


2- UltraStar Deluxe

ultrastar deluxe debian
UltraStar DX is an open source karaoke game similar to Singstar game. The game is simple. You hold a microphone and sing along the game to score. I’m still experimenting with this game.

3- StepMania

stepmania linux

StepMania is a venerable open source alternative to commercial rhythm game Dance Dance Revolution.  The game is very easy to play with a keybaord but if you want to have the ultimate playing experience, you’d better have a dance pad.

4- PyDance

In many ways, PyDance resembles StepMania with less-stellar graphics and customization options. Still a fun little game to have on the list.

5- oFlute

Despite my sincere efforts to run this game on Debian, I’m still stuck with getting it to work on my machine. You might have a better luck.


The following two music games are neither open source nor free of charge. But since they are indie games and you can play them on GNU/Linux I thought they’d be nice to be on our list. They are actually very ace games:

a. Auditorium

A simple and unique puzzle music game developed in Flash (so it’s for all platforms). You can play a demo on their website.

b. Osmos

You might be surprised that I included Osmos here since it’s mostly a physics game. However, I think it has a potent musical element that makes it also a kinda music game. I played this game nearly a year ago (I think) when I was still a Legacy OS user. Now I’m glad that there is a GNU/Linux port for this astonishing game.

That’s it for now!  Happy GNU/Linux playing and feel free to drop a comment if you know any other music games.


Written by Woody

December 9, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Games

10 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. wow…thanks for your post is nice..(~_*)


    December 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

  2. Audio on Linux is still godawful.

    JACK is a royal pain in the ass and I get tons of people asking me over and over and over again how to do a simple thing like plug in a USB keyboard so the kids can pay music.

    Weve gone a long way on the desktop these past 2-3 years but audio still needs to be addressed.

    And plugging in a keyboard shouldnt require advanced computer skills.

    Tom the toker

    December 13, 2010 at 2:56 am

    • What a croc. It might be a nightmare if you’re writing software, but for the end user they never see any issues with the audio stack.

      In reference to this article FOFIX runs like a dream on modest hardware, including audio, and not only that, it happily works with any of my original GH controllers. Just plug em in the USB port and away you go. No fiddly drivers to configure (like windows) etc etc..

      Couldn’t be easier and the game plays just as well as GH on the PS3.

      I’m sick of open source getting a bad rap because of peoples own naivety to the state of hardware/drivers and software. It may have been true in 1998 but not any more.

      Audio is fine, hardware is fine and the software is already fantastic yet under continuous improvement.

      In many cases it has surpassed commercial quality and will only continue to get better because it is improved for non commercial reasons. A commercial entity won’t spend any money on software development once software is “ready to sell”, FOSS devs just keep going well beyond that point and best of all, the software is robust because the people writing want it to work. Commercial companies write to sell, bug fixing after the fact hits the bottom line, it’s little wonder those elusive fixes never come so everyone shells out for the next version where all the bugs are supposedly fixed yet there are more regressions than fixes… Tis ok though, you can always buy the next version and get the fixes….rinse/repeat..


      December 14, 2010 at 11:33 pm

  3. […] Read more at Soosck […]

  4. I had some hardware problems to make work my microphone with Ultrastar while Performous seemed to work better.


    December 15, 2010 at 10:49 am

  5. More than Osmos’s, I think Aquaria’s strong music feel should be added to list.


    December 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

  6. At this time I am ready to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet
    again to read further news.

    steam hacker

    July 19, 2013 at 8:27 am

  7. Hi, for all time i used to check weblog posts here early
    in the daylight, for the reason that i like to learn more and more.

    Online Casino

    July 27, 2013 at 3:13 am

  8. I’ve pets and get pet foods, so they deliver everyone a
    discount brochure using puppy coupons inside.


    December 13, 2016 at 3:15 am

  9. Darn! I just used all of our ripe bananas yesterday to make banana bread. Guess I’ll have to wait until next time to try this. It sounds great!.-= Sh&#elyel180;s last blog .. =-.


    May 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: